UNITED STATES
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LGBT+ Business Climate Score

Out Leadership’s snapshot of the current state of affairs for LGBT+ people, through the lens of international business. The Business Climate Score score is out of ten possible points, and is based on ten independently verifiable indicators of the legal, cultural and business context for LGBT+ people.

7.5
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1.
Are consensual homosexual acts between adults legal?
1
Yes
2.
Are marriage or civil unions for same-sex couples available?
1
Yes
3.
Is being LGBT+ punishable by death?
1
No
4.
Are sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in employment prohibited?
0.5
Varies regionally
5.
Can transgender people legally change their gender markers?
0.5
Varies regionally
6.
Is sex reassignment surgery at birth for intersex children prohibited?
0
No
7.
Are sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in the provision of goods and services prohibited?
0.5
Varies regionally
8.
Is there a U.S. State Department warning against travel for LGBT+ individuals?
1
No
9.
Do companies sponsor Pride?
1
Yes
10.
Are there laws prohibiting freedom of assembly or speech for LGBT+ people (i.e. “anti-propaganda laws”, media gags, etc)?
1
No
Talking Points
  • The recent rise in state-level anti-LGBT+ legislation is alarming. National non-discrimination protections are crucial for me to do business consistently across state lines.
  • The proliferation of so-called ‘religious freedom’ acts at the state level is costing states millions of dollars. It’s estimated the Indiana RFRA – overseen by now-Vice President Mike Pence – cost the state $60 million in hotel profits, tax revenue and other benefits, and that a similar bill passed in North Carolina has cost the state up to $600 million in lost business.
  • While the US now has marriage equality, there are still high level of violence and discrimination against LGBT+ people, particularly trans women of color. Without nationwide protections, much of this discrimination remains legal.
  • The purchasing power of LGBT+ consumers in the US is estimated at $1 Billion. This is an indispensable market for my company.
  • LGBT+ and heterosexual Americans both overwhelmingly prefer to patronize companies that offer equal benefits to all their employees. Millennial consumers in particular, a $600 billion annual market, overwhelmingly prefer to buy from companies with LGBT+ friendly policies and advertising.
  • Research shows that LGBT+ inclusion strengthens businesses’ bottom lines.
Talking Points
Impact of LGBT Discrimination on Business and Talent
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    NO RISK
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    LOW RISK
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    MODERATE RISK
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    NOTABLE RISK
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    HIGH RISK
BRAND RISK
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    NO RISK
There is low brand risk in supporting the LGBT+ community in the US, only threatened by the potential for vocal conservative backlash, but with little lasting effect.
CLIENT RISK
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    NO RISK
While the US still lacks nationwide anti-discrimination protections, there is virtually no risk of LGBT+ clients moving their patronage away from companies doing business there.
TALENT RISK
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    LOW RISK
Same sex marriages performed in other countries are recognized nationwide, which facilitates talent mobility.
MARKETING RISK
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    LOW RISK
With widespread public acceptance, corporations can and do broadcast LGBT+ inclusive marketing without provoking an uproar.
Socio-cultural Environment for LGBT+ People:

Status of LGBT+ Organizing and Community

  • — There is a well-established LGBT+ movement in the country, which has been able to secure significant political gains in recent years.
  • — Pride is celebrated in many states with widespread corporate support. The largest celebrations are held in New York City and San Francisco annually in June.
  • — The Stonewall Inn was dedicated as the nation’s first LGBT+ rights national monument by Obama in 2016.
  • — LGBT+ legal defense organizations have mounted significant cases in the judicial system. These include Lambda Legal, GLAAD, GLAD, and HRC. Other organizations, like the ACLU, aren’t solely LGBT+ focused but do a significant amount of relevant legal work.
  • — There are many LGBT+ social service organizations and community centers on both the state and city level. The June 2016 shooting at Pulse, an LGBT+ nightclub in Orlando, was the deadliest mass shooting in recent US history. Public responses to the event, driven by polarized opinions on the issues of gun control and counterterrorism, sometimes seemed to crowd out the LGBT+ identities of most victims.
  • — The LGBT+ community held a massive protest in front of the Stonewall Inn in February 2017 in solidarity with other minority groups feeling besieged by early Trump administration actions, including the travel ban.

Cultural Views of the LGBT+ Community

  • — A majority of Americans (55%) support marriage equality, according to the Pew Research Center. 66% of small business owners believe that business owners should not be able to deny goods or services to someone who is LGBT based on the owner’s religious belief.
  • — Amongst Christians in the US, support for acceptance of homosexuality has increased steadily over the past decade, now reaching 54%.
  • — The LGBT+ community faces persistently high levels of violence, with federally reported hate crimes based on sexual orientation or gender identity being the third highest, after those based on race and religion.
  • — Violence against trans people, particularly trans women of color, is alarmingly high. In 2016 there were 27 reported murders of trans people, the highest year on record, and the vast majority of the victims were trans women of color. The actual numbers are definitively higher but are not recorded by law enforcement.
  • — In the past decade, representation of LGBT+ people in mainstream media has increased markedly. However, stereotyping is still quite common and the intersectional diversity of the LGBT+ community is rarely depicted.
Local Leaders Advocating for LGBT+ Equality

We’re always happy to help connect business leaders to our partners at advocacy organizations. Direct inquiries to info@outleadership.com